Controversial cap at testosterone levels in female athletes IS reasonable, rule scientists

Limiting the testosterone levels of professional female athletes is reasonable, because the hormone, according to scientists, can give them masculine power.

Experts have supported a ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAFS) that requires women to keep their testosterone within set limits.

The ruling came in a case about the South African runner Caster Semenya, who lives like a woman but was born intersex, making her biologically both male and female.

Female athletes are more likely to have a high testosterone, researchers say, and a biological peak can further increase performance-enhancing benefits.

The controversial cap made at testosterone levels in female athletes has been considered reasonable by scientists. Pictured: Runner Caster Semenya, 28, who has to take medication to reduce her naturally occurring testosterone levels if she wants to stay competitive. Shown with her gold medal in the Women & # 39; s 800m Final at the Commonwealth Games 2018

The controversial cap made at testosterone levels in female athletes has been considered reasonable by scientists. Pictured: Runner Caster Semenya, 28, who has to take medication to reduce her naturally occurring testosterone levels if she wants to stay competitive. Shown with her gold medal in the Women & # 39; s 800m Final at the Commonwealth Games 2018

Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden have gone through previous studies to investigate the effects of testosterone.

They claimed that high levels of the hormone in female athletes could improve their performance, so that their bodies resembled a man's rather than a woman's.

Professor Angelica Linden Hirschberg, who led the review, said there had been insufficient research into the effects of testosterone on women's athletic ability.

But what evidence was confirmed for women with particularly high levels of the hormone – known as the male sex hormone and 20 times more abundant in men – gifted women with muscle mass and endurance comparable to men.

& # 39; Elite female athletes want to compete fairly against other women, not those with more male physiology, & # 39; said Professor Hirschberg.

& # 39; In circumstances where women have high testosterone levels, they may have a big advantage. & # 39;

The professor and gynecologist said it was difficult to give a figure about what a normal level of testosterone should be for a woman.

Health conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome can increase hormone levels in a woman's blood, but are unlikely to have an unfair performance advantage.

And those who naturally have higher testosterone for genetic reasons are overrepresented in sports, she said, who had to be accounted for in the new rule.

South Africa & # 39; s Caster Semenya competes in the women's 800m during the IAAF Diamond League competition on May 3, 2019 in Doha. (Photo by Karim JAAFAR / AFP) KARIM JAAFAR / AFP / Getty Images

South Africa & # 39; s Caster Semenya competes in the women's 800m during the IAAF Diamond League competition on May 3, 2019 in Doha. (Photo by Karim JAAFAR / AFP) KARIM JAAFAR / AFP / Getty Images

Mrs. Semenya was subjected to a sex test in 2009 when people claimed she was a man after testing who had found higher than normal testosterone levels in her blood. Photographed during the IAAF Diamond League competition on 3 May 2019 in Doha, during the women's 800m

The IAAF now says that all women who want to participate in running events over distances between 400 m and a mile must have testosterone lower than 5 nmol / L.

A normal level for healthy women is up to 1.7 nmol / L, while men is between 7.7 nmol / L and 29.4 nmol / L.

The athletic benchmark for ladies is more than twice as high as a normal level for & # 39; honesty & # 39; and to take into account the fact that athletes are likely to have unusual levels, said Professor Hirschberg.

Therefore, athletes with what the IAAF & # 39; differ in sexual development & # 39; who make their testosterone extraordinarily high, like Mrs. Semenya, use medication to control their testosterone.

When it appeared that Semenya had illegally high testosterone, the limit for women was 10 nmol / L – well above normal for a woman and in the range of a healthy man.

Professor Hirschberg added: “In the interest of fairness in sports for everyone, a policy is needed that responds to sensitivity to those who may have a condition that causes high testosterone.

& # 39; We specifically focused on defining the levels that really offer additional benefits on women's strength and speed, and setting an appropriate limit for fair competition. & # 39;

Professor Hirschberg's claims have been answered with criticism that they are & # 39; too simple & # 39; called.

Dr. Sheree Bekker, of the University of Bath, told MailOnline: & This type of statement is based on outdated and incorrect views of testosterone as the & # 39; male & hormone, while both men and women need testosterone to function healthily.

Verder Furthermore, given the many other variables that affect athletic performance and saying that higher testosterone equals better performance, it is not as simple as it appears on the surface.

& # 39; It seems that this document aims to demonstrate that the IAAF regulation testosterone cut-off point of 5 nmol / l is not random, but rather intended to include women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, but to exclude women with differences in sexual development Close.

& # 39; The blatant inconsistency here is that we simply cannot distinguish between these groups based on blood testosterone alone, let alone determine who is susceptible to testosterone and what is assumed & # 39; performance benefit & # 39; that yields. & # 39;

Professor Hirschberg will present her research at this week's European Society of Endocrinology meeting.

HOW CASTER SEMENYA CAUSES THE CASE CONTROVERSION

South African rider Mokgadi Caster Semenya (28) was not allowed to run for nearly a year in 2009 after it turned out that she had more than normal testosterone in her body.

Critics claimed that she was a man because of her excellent performance that led to her being subjected to a sex test.

The results were never published, but it is believed that they have shown that she was born with both female and male biology.

Caster Semenya stood in the middle of a row above a new line from the IAAF that limits testosterone levels in female runners. Shown during the women's 800 m race at the IAAF Diamon League competition, May 2019

Caster Semenya stood in the middle of a row above a new line from the IAAF that limits testosterone levels in female runners. Shown during the women's 800 m race at the IAAF Diamon League competition, May 2019

Caster Semenya stood in the middle of a row above a new line from the IAAF that limits testosterone levels in female runners. Shown during the women's 800 m race at the IAAF Diamon League competition, May 2019

She was allowed to return as a woman and has since won Commonwealth and Olympic gold medals.

Mrs Semenya tried to take legal action against the rule, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected Mrs Semenya's challenge in May 2019.

They said that the decision was "necessary, reasonable and proportionate" to ensure fair competition, but added that it "had serious concerns about the future practical application" of the new rules.

Mrs. Semenya has indicated how wrong she felt that the rules were and that all she wanted was & # 39; run by nature, as I was born & # 39 ;.

To comply with the regulations, Mrs. Semenya would either have to use medication to defend her world 800m title later this year or to compete at 5,000m, which is not covered by the IAAF regulations.

South Africa Athletics (ASA) said it was & # 39; in shock & South Africa & # 39; s sports minister Tokozile Xasa said Caster & # 39; target & # 39; was and called the proposed IAAF rule a violation of human rights.

Athletics South Africa, the country's athletics organization, will appeal the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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